conceit

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conceit,

in literature, fanciful or unusual image in which apparently dissimilar things are shown to have a relationship. The Elizabethan poets were fond of Petrarchan conceits, which were conventional comparisons, imitated from the love songs of Petrarch, in which the beloved was compared to a flower, a garden, or the like. The device was also used by the metaphysical poetsmetaphysical poets,
name given to a group of English lyric poets of the 17th cent. The term was first used by Samuel Johnson (1744). The hallmark of their poetry is the metaphysical conceit (a figure of speech that employs unusual and paradoxical images), a reliance on
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, who fashioned conceits that were witty, complex, intellectual, and often startling, e.g., John Donne's comparison of two souls with two bullets in "The Dissolution." Samuel Johnson disapproved of such strained metaphors, declaring that in the conceit "the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together." Such modern poets as Emily Dickinson and T. S. Eliot have used conceits.

Conceit

Ajax
(the lesser) boastful and insolent; drowns due to vanity. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 14]
Bunthorne, Reginald
fleshly poet; “aesthetically” enchants the ladies. [Br. Lit.: Patience]
Butler, Theodosius
thinks he is a wonderful person. [Br. Lit.: Sketches by Boz]
Collins, Mr.
pompous, self-satisfied clergyman who proposes to Elizabeth Bennet. [Br. Lit.: Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice]
Dalgetty, Rittmaster Dugald
self-aggrandizing, pedantic soldier-of-fortune. [Br. Lit.: Legend of Montrose]
Dedlock, Sir Leicester
contemplates his own greatness. [Br. Lit.: Bleak House]
Dogberry and Verges
ignorant and bloated constables. [Br. Lit.: Much Ado About Nothing]
Grosvenor, Archibald
idyllic poet of no imperfections. [Br. Lit.: Patience]
Henry VIII
inflated self-image parallels bloated body. [Br. Lit.: Henry VIII]
Homer, Little Jack
pats his back with “What a good boy am I!” [Nurs. Rhyme: Mother Goose, 90]
Keefe, Jack
baseball pitcher is a chronic braggart and self-excuser suffering from an exaggerated sense of importance. [Am. Lit.: Lardner You Know Me Al in Magill III, 1159]
Lewis
self-important coxcomb full of hollow, ostentatious valor. [Br. Lit.: Henry V]
Malvolio
Olivia’s grave, self-important steward; “an affectioned ass.” [Br. Lit.: Twelfth Night]
Montespan, Marquis de
regards exile and wife’s concubinage as honor. [Br. Opera: The Duchess of la Valliere, Brewer Hand-book, 721]
narcissus
flower of conceit. [Plant Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 170; Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 171–172]
nettle
symbol of vanity and pride. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 176]
Orion
scorpion stung him to death for his boasting. [Rom. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 971]
Prigio, Prince
too clever prince; arrogance renders him unpopular. [Children’s Lit.: Prince Prigio]
Slurk, Mr.
had a “consciousness of immeasurable superiority” over others. [Br. Lit.: Pickwick Papers]
Tappertit, Simon
boasted he could subdue women with eyes. [Br. Lit.: Barnaby Rudge]

conceit

Literary an elaborate image or far-fetched comparison, esp as used by the English Metaphysical poets
References in classic literature ?
She is not silly, conceited, nor countrified," said George, slowly raising his beautiful eyes to the young girl half reproachfully.
You never can show better than as your own natural self, my sweet Dora; and we'll try no conceited experiments, but go back to our old way, and be happy.
Hubble, who were surpassingly conceited and vainglorious in being members of so distinguished a procession.
She might be defined, I reflected, as The Woman Who Is Worthy Of Us; but the improbability which every healthily conceited young man must feel of ever finding such a one made the definition seem a little unserviceable.
I should like to look back and see Pharaoh passing Gertrude; but if he saw me he would think I was admiring him; and he is conceited enough already without that.
I was drinking in his words and smiling away, as conceited as a cock upon a wall, when, all in a breath, back went his right hand over his shoulder.
I have indeed observed the same disposition among most of the mathematicians I have known in Europe, although I could never discover the least analogy between the two sciences; unless those people suppose, that because the smallest circle has as many degrees as the largest, therefore the regulation and management of the world require no more abilities than the handling and turning of a globe; but I rather take this quality to spring from a very common infirmity of human nature, inclining us to be most curious and conceited in matters where we have least concern, and for which we are least adapted by study or nature.
Billy the Mule stumped off with the swaggering limp of an old campaigner, as the troop-horse's head came nuzzling into my breast, and I gave him biscuits, while Vixen, who is a most conceited little dog, told him fibs about the scores of horses that she and I kept.
I do not dislike that modesty," said Don Quixote; "for there is no poet who is not conceited and does not think he is the best poet in the world.
Who will undertake to unite the discordant opinions of a whole commuity, in the same judgment of it; and to prevail upon one conceited projector to renounce his INFALLIBLE criterion for the FALLIBLE criterion of his more CONCEITED NEIGHBOR?
No one had told him as yet of Suzanne's revelations; he therefore appeared very jaunty and slightly conceited when the company, leaving the dining-room, returned to the salon for their coffee; several other guests had meantime assembled for the evening.